Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President and CEO Craig Fuller and senior members of the association’s government affairs staff traveled to Ada, Okla., on July 7, for a demonstration of one of the possible solutions in the search for an unleaded aviation gasoline. Joining them at General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) was Cessna Aircraft Co. President and CEO Jack Pelton.
“The dilemma of how to remove lead from avgas without affecting safety of flight has vexed our industry for years,” said Fuller. “So it is important that AOPA, as part of a general aviation avgas coalition, look at all potential solutions. That’s why we’re at GAMI again – to get an update on how their work on a fuel alternative is progressing.”
This was AOPA’s second meeting with GAMI to see their work on a 100LL alternative, called G100UL. Fuller has also met with and received an extensive briefing from Swift Fuels, another company that is working on a 100LL replacement.
AOPA and the other members of the coalition – the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) – are working with the Environmental Protection Agency and the FAA to develop and implement a comprehensive process for evaluating all aspects of potential solutions, from refining to actual performance in aircraft engines, according to AOPA officials.
GAMI provided an interesting demonstration of how the company is utilizing its engine test cell capability to develop fuel blends with the goal of developing a future unleaded fuel that meets the needs of high performance aircraft, AOPA officials noted. Additionally, GAMI is using its fuel in a turbocharged Cirrus aircraft, is pursuing an STC, and this week began the process of developing a fuel standard through ASTM International.
“The general aviation avgas coalition looks forward to seeing data from GAMI, Swift, and any others who may have a potential solution,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “With that data, we can examine the production, distribution, performance, emissions and economic impacts associated with any given proposed alternative.”
In the coming weeks and months, AOPA plans to continue to visit many of the key players in the avgas issue including suppliers and aircraft and engine manufacturers, as well companies such as GAMI and Swift that are developing potential solutions.
For more information: AOPA.org, GAMI.com or SwiftEnterprises.com/Swift Fuel.html
Rick Gifford says
Then there is the problem of ethanol absorbing water to be considered which I believe is the real concern for aviation use
Dan Meester says
To answer Tom’s question regarding why autos can use ethanol: not all cars can. Older vehicle fuel lines and gaskets react quite negatively when ethanol is introduced into the fuel system That’s why gasoline has a maximum content of 10% ethanol. Newer (say 1995 or newer) autos have had the fuel system components that are subject to dissolution in the presence of ethanol updated to components that can handle them. It’s a big market, GA isn’t a rounding error by comparison of available market so no one really makes components for ethanol content fuel. It would also require STCs for virtually every component of the power component on an aircraft.
Tom Mosher says
I own a C-150 with an STC for auto fuel. The problem of hydrogenated auto fuel was solved up to a week ago by using Chevron auto fuel. It was the only auto gasoline station in the neighborhood that didn’t put ethanol in their fuel. They all state “our fuel may contain up to 10 percent”. The operative word or phrase here is “it may”. When they finally changed and hydrogenated it I was forced to look further. I found that Parker Oil has not ethanol in their fuel. I’ve made up a test kit and sample all my fuel. It is simple an quick. Incidentally I use 87 octane.
I have a general question, why can an automobile use this ethanol crap successfully and aircraft cannot? I’m a former auto mechanic and have heard of no apparent changes to the automobile engine to permit the acceptance of ethanol, “flex-fuel” excepting.
James Shepherd says
I agree with Bill Monroe. I and many of my flying friends would be very happy if 91 octane mogas was made available at airports. We all fly with Rotax 912 series engines which require 91 mogas. At this time it is only available at the auto gas pump.
Bill Monroe says
I would be happy if they would just sell 91 octane car gas with no ethanol. thousands of GA planes could fly right now with the Peterson STC that’s already in-place.
Let Gami and others work on the high test stuff too but they could get immediate environmental benefits by adding no-ethanol 91 octane car gas to airports.
Keith Pratt says
Might take a look at a product called ‘ETHOS’ mfgred in San Diego. It is not petroleum based. It is basically Esters. It is not an additive, by definition. An additive is petroleum based. I use this along with 87 octane fuel in my 914 Porsche that requires 91 octane and a friend of mine (who incidentally represents that company) uses it in his racing Porsche that requires 93 or 94 octane. Both vehicles run well, are more fuel effecient, and at an age of about 80 years, my friend wins the races most of the time.